2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel first look: more grunt, more miles

The pairing was highly eventual, but also highly anticipated.

On Friday, Jeep announced that its 2021 Gladiator pickup would be available with an optional 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 plucked from the Ram 1500 pickup and Wrangler SUV. In the Gladiator, the turbodiesel will make 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque and be paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

The engine will be available in Gladiator Sport, Overland, and Rubicon trim levels, which are equipped with Dana 44 front and rear axles and a 3.73 axle ratio, which points to the diesel’s grunt and prowess heading up a trail.

The EPA hasn’t yet rated the Gladiator pickup, but 2020 ratings for the diesel-powered Wrangler were 22 mpg city, 29 highway, 25 combined. The two share similar skeletons, although the Gladiator is bigger so it’s likely that the diesel pickup will land somewhere slightly lower when it’s rated.

Jeep said that the pickups will be equipped with diesel exhaust fluid after-treatment tanks that will need to be refilled every 10,000 miles.

The Gladiator’s 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine is largely identical to the same units found in other Jeep and Ram products, although Jeep says it’s made several changes to the engine to make it quieter and more capable off-road. Enthusiasts have clamored for the turbodiesel in Jeep products thanks to the engine’s low-end torque and long lopes in the wilderness thanks to better fuel economy, compared to gas-powered Jeeps.

Jeep didn’t say how much the turbodiesel would cost in the Gladiator when it goes on sale, but the engine is a pricey upgrade in Wranglers: $4,000. Jeep said turbodiesel Gladiators are available to order now and will be delivered to owners before winter.

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